February 15, Wednesday

The AMI QT devotionals for February 13-19 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

What Gift Will You Give Your First Love?

1 Corinthians 3:12-13

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.

15Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. A lot of people might have celebrated this with a significant other, giving gifts to each other, or doing something nice together.  Everybody has different preferences, but there are some things that likely would have been unacceptable: re-gifted presents, or reheated leftovers. Why? Because we expect an expression of love to be generous and sacrificial, expressing the worth the gift-giver places on the receiver.

Some of us think about doing God’s work as an obligation, but let’s think of it instead as a demonstration of devotion and love to Him. Why does Paul say that the day of fire will reveal the quality of the work based on its material? Because straw, hay, and wood burn up easily. They cost very little time and energy to find; you could go to any park and lawn and collect these things.

But materials such as gold, silver, and precious stones require something more—even their raw forms require additional time and energy to prepare before you use them. They are much more durable, and they require a greater personal cost to obtain. When you bring them for His use, you are showing how much you prioritize and value Him.

Let’s think about what our presents to God are as well. Do we give Him the cheap, convenient, and leftover things of our lives? Or are we giving Him the first-fruits, the best of what we can do? Just as in any relationship, there is considerable grace even when you fail to properly value Him well. But, as we can, and helping one another, let’s strive to give the One who loves us most, the things that show He is worth our best.

Prayer: Father, thank You for loving us! We yearn to love You more and more, but we confess that we do not always honor You rightly with the best we can offer. Teach us how to rearrange our time, our schedules, and our giving so that we can properly convey how valuable and worthy You are.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Song of Songs 3


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read James 1:16-18: Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Questions to Consider

  1. James writes that we should know rightly where good and perfect gifts come from. Why is this so?
  2. Take some time to reflect on this description of God: “Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” What does this tell us about God, and why would James include it talking about gifts?
  3. The word says that we are a type of first-fruit from God. What does that also say about our identity and our purpose? Take some time to reflect on what it means for us to be a first-fruit from God.

Notes

  1. God alone is the provider of good and perfect things. But it also means that His plans and ways are higher than ours, as we cannot always fathom what is truly ”good and perfect” for our lives.
  2. This description of God calls to mind how He is not only glorious and other-worldly, but His character is also steadfast and dependable. We might fear gifts coming from a capricious being, but when we know that the loving Father does not change, we can eagerly and gladly accept what He has for us.
  3. It says here that the identity of a born-again Christian is the firstfruits among all His creation. The firstfruits are the most valuable and precious; they are the best one has to offer. God has placed us in this world with so much worth and value; we are His gifts to be sources of blessing to one another.

EVENING REFLECTION

Today’s theme was about gifts and gift-giving. Are you giving God the best you have to offer? Do you also believe that God is gifting you unto this world to be used? Let’s take some time to see whether we can shape our lives in light of one of these ideas.

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